APHA Midyear Meeting Begins

Jun 23, 2011, 8:03 PM, Posted by NewPublicHealth

The American Public Health Association is holding its first-ever midyear meeting this week in Chicago. “The purpose of this meeting is to learn, network, and see public health move forward,” said Georges Benjamin, M.D., executive director of the APHA.

Good health, said Dr. Benjamin, depends on myriad factors that happen inside and outside of the doctor's office and will require a comprehensive shift in how we, as a society, believe our health system should work.

Speakers opening the meeting included Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, who told the audience that “part of a really good health care system is having excellent public health.”

And Linda Rae Murray, M.D. M.P.H., president of the APHA and chief medical officer of the Cook County Department of Health in Illinois, told the Midyear meeting attendees: “Listen to people-- there’s lots of stuff to learn here. “

A key presenter of the opening session was pollster Celinda Lake, of Lake Research Partners. According to Lake, “the public is way ahead of the elite on prevention.”

Among the findings presented by Celinda Lake at the opening session:

  • Americans support prevention and believe it should be a higher priority than it currently is
  • Americans believe we’re doing poorly on health and prevention and 8 out of ten rate our health a “C” or “D”
  • The public supports allocating resources toward community prevention initiatives
  • Some people were unclear on what community prevention is; it’s important to give examples
  • 73 percent support investing in prevention; 43 percent strongly support that investment
  • Prevention efforts poll responders supported included making school lunches more nutritious and food labeling
  • Responders prefer incentives to punishments when it comes to prevention efforts
  • Overwhelming support for polices that help children

Lake pointed out that her research found that the most effective messages for community prevention focus on helping children grow up health and helping with the health problems we face as a country.

Read the APHA Midyear Meeting Blog here.

Weigh In: Has your community had success with community prevention efforts?

This commentary originally appeared on the RWJF New Public Health blog.